Friday, 27 December 2013

2013 Highlights - Top 10 Releases

As 2013 draws to a close, we're going to have a look back at all the releases we have reviewed and highlight our favourite releases. It has been a great year for the UK extreme metal scene, with some absolutely outstanding releases. UKEM has not had the chance to review every single release, but have tried our best!!(there are quite a few we've missed, time being an issue!!). The following releases are in no particular order, but are our top 10 favourite releases of 2013 and how we summed each release up!!
Nine Covens - On The Dawning Of Light
"It is fair to say that Nine Covens are the leading black metal band in the UK at the moment. There is no faulting this album whatsoever. It has a lot to offer in terms of pace, atmosphere and musicianship (the band putting in a flawless performance). Black metal of THE highest order – it's harsh, its grim, its brutal and melodic and its one of the best black metal albums to come from these shores in recent times (given that we have seen a lot of great black metal releases recently). This is a 'must have' album for black metal fans – ensure you grab a copy, you will not be disappointed. Comes as about as highly recommended as it gets"
Cruelty's Heart - Rex Anglorvm Saxonvm
"I think its going to be fair to say that Cruelty's Heart have produced an absolutely amazing piece of music, sounding fully original and full of conviction. The dense atmospheres really draw the listener into the bands world with the harshness of the black metal really adding to the overall appeal of this release. It's another black metal release which really stands head and shoulders above a lot of release out there and coming from one man, it's testament to Bloodletters ability to write a worthwhile song. Harsh black metal that oozes atmosphere and has a melodic, folk inspired musical core, this is about as good as it gets and is yet another release that (if your a BM fan) should be on your “to get” list. But hurry, word is there aren’t many copies left available to buy. Comes extremely highly recommended"
Barshasketh - Sitra Achra
"Barshasketh have released an amazing black metal album, packed full of harsh atmospheres with melodies that are instantly memorable and catchy. Used a lot in this review, 'epic' best describes much of this album. The musicianship on show is first rate and its not an over exaggeration to say that this is some of the best black metal i've heard for quite some time. Originally from New Zealand, but now based in Edinburgh it might explain the fact that the bands brand of black metal is quite unique for these shores and is why this album comes very highly recommended"
Laceration - Severing The Divine Iniquity
"Hamish has managed to produce an absolute monster of an album that is packed full of songs that ooze everything you want from brutal death metal – blasting drums, raging guitar work, ultra-guttural vocals all played with a technical efficiency that sounds flawless. Hamish’s song writing and playing has taken on a more technical sound than his previous release, but this shows a man improving, learning and absolutely slaying on his guitar and in his song writing and composition/song structuring. If you don’t own a copy of this album, then you’re missing out as it is one of the most brutal releases to come out of the UK in some time and comes very highly recommended"
Scatorgy - Scatorgy
"All that you really need to know is that Scatorgy have produced an absolutely monstrous slab on brutal death metal played at speeds that most bands can only dream of attaining, it’s beyond brutal. A lot of words have been used within this review to describe the songs, but once again, punishing, frantic, frenzied and utterly brutal best describe everything offered up. I have no apprehension in saying that I think this is one of the best death metal releases ( I have heard to date) from a UK band this year, if not THE best, it really is that outstanding and obviously comes very highly recommended – enjoy the poo"
Sidious - Ascension To The Throne Ov Self
"Sidious have introduced themselves to the extreme metal world in absolutely devastating fashion, producing a debut e.p. that highlights five musicians at the top of their game, such is the dizzyingly high standard of music on display, it’s definitely the highlight for UKEM HQ for 2013 so far. Featuring four tracks of blistering blackened death metal that is as good (if not better) as you are likely to hear anytime soon, this comes extremely highly recommended and if you don’t own a copy, you should"
Carcass - Surgical Steel
"Carcass are back and are truly on top form, pushing the boundaries of modern extreme metal to the limits. The whole album balances the bands two classic sounds (Necroticism and Heartwork) brilliantly, neither one overpowering the other, rather acting as partners to create an absolutely punishing and devastating slab of modern extreme metal. Highly anticipated? Yes, but the wait was more than worth it, definitely the death metal album of 2013 so far, it comes very highly recommended"
Arsaidh - Roots
"I am in absolute awe of this release, such is its impact. For a debut release it is nothing short of fantastic. The extremely long songs are noting to shy away from as each track is packed full of interesting moods and atmospheres. The use of traditional Scottish instruments mixed with the harsher black metal influenced music stands out at something exceptional, wholly original and massively catchy. As mentioned earlier in the review, the music is “absolutely brilliant” and that description stands firm having listened to the release in its entirety. Atmospheric Celtic metal with a big black metal influence, this is yet another stand out release for 2013 so far and comes as highly recommended as it gets and not having this cd in your collection means you are missing out on something truly special"
Cnoc An Tursa - The Giants Of Auld
"Cnoc An Tursa have produced an absolutely stunning debut full length album that is without doubt a genre leader. It’s not very often that a band can write and record such a stunning piece of work on any album, never-mind a debut, but these four Scotsmen have done just that. The mix of black metal and folk/cletic inspired traditional music works so well, the balance is just right that neither one overpowers the other and you just can’t fail to be impressed. ‘The Giants Of Auld’ is an absolute masterpiece and if you haven’t heard it yet then you really should as it is something very special indeed and comes as highly rated as possible, it’s another ‘must own’ from another outstanding UK band"
Necrosis - Catatonic Psychosis
"Catatonic Psychosis is as good a death metal release as you are likely to hear for quite some time and given that it is the band’s debut release makes it all the more impressive. Some bands struggle to write well-constructed and memorable death metal songs, Necrosis appear to do it with an ease that will bode well for future releases. This e.p. is one of those releases that punches you square in the jaw, then picks you up, dusts you off, and then punches you even harder leaving you speechless and bleeding….but wanting even more punishment. If you consider yourself to be a death metal fan, then this is a must. Yet another UK band producing a genre-leading release, this e.p. comes extremely highly recommended"
Some absolutely storming releases and its been hard picking the top ten as we have had to leave out some other amazing releases, especially from ABHORRENT DECIMATION, PARTY CANNON, WRITTEN IN TORMENT, DEAD BEYOND BURIED, SCORDATURA and OVEROTH.
A great year for extreme metal in the UK, here's hoping that 2014 will be even better, there are some great releases on the horizon.
Finally, a huge thanks to everyone that has supported UKEM through its 3 years of existence, the support is hugely appreciated. Onwards and upwards!!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Fires Of Tartarus - Deathless Gods

Self Released 2013
1.Eruption From Chaos 2.Deathless Gods 3.Tartarus 4.Guardians of the Gate
(Review By Tom 'Pestilence' Vance)
Second e.p. from Hampshire based melodic death metallers Fires Of Tartarus and 'Eruption Of Chaos' starts with a acoustic guitar intro before kicking into an all out assault. The guitar riffs are well played and very melodic sounding. The drums switch between an all out battery and breakdown moments. The vocals are predominantly shouted in a hardcore style and switch to death metal vocals in parts which adds a nice variation. Good use of solos and overall a very melodic death metal feel. 'Deathless Gods' kicks in at a more mid-paced speed and death metal vocals are utilised from the outset. The drums again vary from blasts to more hardcore sounding breakdown parts. Guitars are a good mix of technical and brutal and they also inject a classical section in the middle of the song which works well. Even though it sounds heavy, it always remains melodic in its approach.
'Tartarus' blasts from the outset but then goes back to the breakdown style heard in the previous songs.  Yet again, this song has all the melodic death metal elements from previous songs mixed with a slight hardcore feel. The vocals seem a little different, going for a more high pitched scream and gurgling moan. I can't really make any comparisons, but if you are into this kind of metal, then this band won't disappoint you. Finally 'Guardians Of The Gate' acts as a melodic outro, nothing more, nothing less. If you are into melodic death metal mixed with hardcore then I would highly recommend you get a copy of this, as the musicians are top notch and the production is spot on. It would get a much higher score from me, if I felt that they were "doing it" but I just don't unfortunately.
7 Out Of 10
Band Page: Here

Monday, 16 December 2013

Necrosis - Catatonic Psychosis

Self Released 2013
1.Congenital Abnormality 2.Ruptured And Bleeding
3.Human Abattoir 4.Chainsawodmy 5.Catatonic Psychosis
The cover art for the debut e.p. from Bristol based brutal death metal outfit Necrosis leaves nothing to the imagination and leaves you in no doubt as to what to expect musically. Following the short sampled intro, ‘Congenital Abnormality’ bursts open unmercifully in an overwhelming torrent of rabid death metal. Speed is optimised throughout much of this opening track, frantic guitars accompany so manic blast beat leaden drumming which sounds utterly devastating and pummels instantly. There’s a definite feel and sound of Aborted mixed with U.S death metal on display which works exceptionally well. What an introduction to the band, showing massive amounts of promise in this opener. ‘Ruptured And Bleeding’ follows on in a similar theme, absolutely manic, twisted guitars set a ferocious pace and are once again supported by some outstanding drum work. Vocally there are no surprises, harsh and brutally growled death metal vocals bark out malevolence with ease and are backed up every so often with higher, manic screams, sounding not to dissimilar to Gorerotted when the dual vocals are unleashed. ‘Human Abattoir’ is another absolutely massive song; the pace adopted is punishing and very rarely lets up and it’s very much about the speed, in fact its all about the speed!! . When the band do up the pace it sounds extremely tight, they are all obviously well practiced in the rehearsal room! Although the songs are all about speed, the pace is dropped sporadically and when it is adds such heaviness to the songs that it almost draws every last breath from your body. As mentioned, these sections aren’t used very often and the band then return to the familiar faster blast beat heavy sections.
‘Chainsawdomy’ is so fucking brutal, every member seemingly pushing their playing abilities to the absolute limit here, and ability they have, in absolutely massive amounts. There’s such a brutal catchiness to the faster riffs and many bands in a similar genre could learn a lot (from these guys) about writing good, solid death metal songs. The break in the middle of song works very well and adds something extra to the track; the chainsaw samples might be slightly clich├ęd but in amongst death metal as nasty as this, sound perfect! Closing the e.p. is the title track, ‘Catatonic Psychosis’ and what a way to end things on. It’s another blasting example of the band at full throttle and really wanting to close on a high, which they do. Reading the bands biography the say “Necrosis aims to make a major impact on the death metal scene over the forthcoming months” and they weren’t wrong. Catatonic Psychosis is as good a death metal release as you are likely to hear for quite some time and given that it is the band’s debut release makes it all the more impressive. Some bands struggle to write well-constructed and memorable death metal songs, Necrosis appear to do it with an ease that will bode well for future releases. This e.p. is one of those releases that punches you square in the jaw, then picks you up, dusts you off, and then punches you even harder leaving you speechless and bleeding….but wanting even more punishment. If you consider yourself to be a death metal fan, then this is a must. Yet another UK band producing a genre-leading release, this e.p. comes extremely highly recommended.
9 Out Of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here
Buyon the death metal scene over the forthcoming mont

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Obscene - Architects Of Deliverance

UKEM Records 2013
1.Sonderkommando 2.Spawned From Ignorance 3.Of Feeble Minds And Weakness
4.Nex Necis 5.Dreaming The Obscure 6.Carrion Feast
7.Dawn Of Suffering 8.The Heretics Fork 9.The Man The Martyr
10.Architects Of Deliverance 11.Worlds Ablaze
Review by Aaron 'Kingsize' Waters
This is the band's first full length & I must say, a bloody good one. It has that sort of sound that isn't exactly easy to pin point and say "Oh yeah, they sound like that other bloody band, what's their face!", no, this is one where you get your digits out and try to work it out a little bit. I mean, I'm not going to sit here and say that it's unique or anything, but it's certainly different. It's very old fashioned styled death metal by all counts, but has slight black metal elements to it too. However, it's not blackened death either! It's got thrash under it's belt n'all! And just when you think it's hit every note, bam! They hit you with some old school slams!
Don't get me wrong though, this album is far from perfect. Some might say the production isn't up to scratch, but for me (personally) I like a bit of rough and tumble in the mix. However, I will say the spoken-word part of the album was a bit too cheesy for me and at some points it sounds like there may be a few timing issues. But other than that, it's a pretty solid release. The artwork is fantastic and the all-round musicianship is it pretty much all you can ask from a band and then some! Very talented lads and extremely good at what they do. So if you're a fan of Suffocation's "Effigy" era with a bit of a european Black Metal twang then I'd say this is pretty much the album for you.
7 Out of 10
Band Page: Here
Buy It: Here